The IDF Northern Command remained at a heightened state of alert on Thursday, ordering farmers in the area to stay away from their fields.
“Yesterday we received notice from the army not to approach our orchards along the border area, and not to work them,” said farmer Yossi Levit. “Our army, at the moment, because of all sorts of intelligence notices, won’t allow us to get any closer, and we unfortunately have to follow orders.”
The move comes a day after Hezbollah threatened retaliation for an alleged Israeli air strike on a truck convoy from Syria carrying missiles to the terrorist organization.
The state of alert can be seen as a natural response to Hezbollah’s threats, and is not necessarily an indication of an imminent flare up along the border.
In a statement, Hezbollah said it would “choose the time and place and the proper way to respond.”
Lebanese security sources have said they believed that the Monday attack, near the Bekaa Valley village of Janta, took place on Syrian soil.
Hezbollah’s reference to Lebanese sovereignty Wednesday, in its response to the strike, suggested it took place on the Lebanese side of the border. The group denied reports that the strike targeted artillery or rocket bases and said there were no casualties.
According to foreign reports, Israeli planes have struck areas on the Syrian side of the border five to six times in the past year but, if confirmed, an air strike on Lebanese soil would be the first since the Syrian revolt began in 2011.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not claim or deny responsibility for the strike, but said on Tuesday Israel would do everything required to safeguard the security of its citizens.
Last year, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon spelled out Israel’s red lines regarding developments to its north.
“We don’t get involved in the internal [Syrian] war, but we place clear red lines: not to allow the transfer of balance-altering weapons to hostile elements, with an emphasis on Hezbollah, not to allow the transfer of chemical weapons, and not to allow harm to our sovereignty on the Golan Heights,” he said.
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